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Tom Jones, as outstanding as ever

Welsh singer performed a smart blend of his best-known songs and less famous numbers

By Jean-Claude Elias - Aug 09,2018 - Last updated at Aug 09,2018

Tom Jones sings at the Royal Cultural Palace in Amman on Wednesday (Photo by Jean Claude Elias)

AMMAN — “Brilliant”, “outstanding”, “an absolute delight”, Tom Jones’ concert on Wednesday evening in Amman was all this and more, by any standard.

At the still-young age of 78, the Welsh singer has not lost an atom of his voices exceptional attributes: Power, beauty, rhythm, control, feeling and precision. He still easily, perfectly hits all the high (and sustained…) notes. Actually, he does all the notes so well that you wonder which are the most beautiful, the very high notes or the very low ones — they all send shiver down your spine, in the most delightful way.

Tom Jones enchanted the audience at the Royal Cultural Palacewith a smart blend of his best-known songs and some perhaps less known numbers. Whether interpreting Bill Haley’s classic “Rock around the clock”, Leonard Cohen’s “Tower of song” or his own standards like “The green, green grass of home”, “What’s new pussycat” or “It’s not unusual”, the singer performed brilliantly, flawlessly and with soul.

And, of course, “Delilah” was there, played with interesting musical arrangements, quite a change from the original ternary, waltz-like rhythm, but still very effective and pleasant.

Most of the songs were played with arrangements that were different from the original recordings the singer’s fans are used to.

Jones was accompanied by a first class, tight-knit 10-member band that significantly added to the beauty of the concert, enhancing each song in their own special way. Whether the brass section, the guitars, the keyboards, the drums or the occasional accordion, music was as good as it can ever get.

There were constantly beautiful visuals projected on the background behind the band and the singer, making an appropriate match for each of the songs.

From the beginning to the end, the audience showed Tom Jones how happy and enthusiastic everyone was, with some dancing to the music and two small groups waving banners with Wales’ flag, as a tribute to the artist’s home country.

Tom Jones nicely ended the concert with an exquisite, emotional rendition of “What a wonderful world”, the song first made famous by Louis Armstrong and written by Thiele and Weiss.

There may still be no answer to the existential question “Why, why, why Delilah?”, but there sure is one to “Why, why, why Tom Jones?” It is simply because of your amazing voice.

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